George Anderson

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Person.png George Anderson  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(Diplomat, Mariner)
George W. Anderson, Jr..jpg
BornDecember 15, 1906
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 20, 1992 (Age 85)
McLean, Virginia, U.S.
Alma materUnited States Naval Academy
Member ofKnights of Malta, PIAB
Admiral in the United States Navy and a diplomat. As the Chief of Naval Operations between 1961 and 1963, he was in charge of the US blockade of Cuba during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Employment.png United States Ambassador to Portugal

In office
October 22, 1963 - June 1, 1966

Employment.png Chief of Naval Operations

In office
August 1, 1961 - August 1, 1963

George Whelan Anderson Jr. was an admiral in the United States Navy and a diplomat. As the Chief of Naval Operations between 1961 and 1963, he was in charge of the US blockade of Cuba during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Early life and career

Born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 15, 1906, Anderson entered the United States Naval Academy in 1923 and graduated with the class of 1927. Then, he became a Naval Aviator and served on cruisers and aircraft carriers, including the USS Cincinnati.

In World War II, Anderson was the navigator on the fourth USS Yorktown. After the war, he was the Commanding Officer of the escort carrier USS Mindoro and of the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. He also served tours as an assistant to General Dwight Eisenhower at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Arthur W. Radford, and as chief of staff to the Commander in Chief Pacific.

Flag assignments

As a flag officer, Anderson commanded Task Force 77 between Taiwan and Mainland China, Carrier Division 6, in the Mediterranean during the 1958 Lebanon landing and, as a vice admiral, commanded the United States Sixth Fleet.

As Chief of Naval Operations in charge of the US blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Anderson distinguished himself in the Navy's conduct of those operations. Time magazine featured him on the cover[1] and called him "an aggressive blue-water sailor of unfaltering competence and uncommon flair." He had, however, a contentious relationship with Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. At one point during the crisis, Anderson ordered McNamara out of the Pentagon's Flag Plot when the Secretary inquired as to the Navy's intended procedures for stopping Soviet submarines;[2] McNamara viewed those actions as mutinous and forced Anderson to retire in 1963. Many senior naval officers had believed Anderson's next appointment would have been to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Later career

Anderson took early retirement, largely because of the ongoing conflict with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.[3]

President John F. Kennedy subsequently appointed Anderson Ambassador to Portugal, where he served for three years during the Portuguese colonial wars of independence. He later returned to government service from 1973 to 1977 as member and later chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

After his retirement from the navy, Anderson was chairman of Lamar Advertising Company, an outdoor advertising company, and he was a director on the boards of Value Line, National Airlines and Crown Seal and Cork.

Family and death

Anderson's first wife was Muriel Buttling (1911–1947). His two sons were George W. Anderson III (1935–1986), who died of brain cancer, and Thomas Patrick Anderson (1942–1978), who flew more than 200 combat missions in Vietnam.

Anderson died on March 20, 1992 of congestive heart failure, at the age of 85, in McLean, Virginia. He was survived by his second wife of 44 years, the former Mary Lee Sample (née Anderson), the widow of William Sample; a daughter; a stepdaughter; twelve grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. He was buried on March 23, 1992, in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery. Muriel Buttling and both sons (George III and Thomas Patrick) are also buried at Arlington.


Event Participated in

Colloquium on Analysis and Estimates30 November 19791 December 1979Spooky 1979 Washington conference
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